Reflections: The loss of my son

When I found out that I had lost my son, it was, in some ways, worse for my older son who I had called on the phone in panic. I actually said to him ‘Ary, Ary, (sobbing) your sister is saying on the phone that Adam is dead! It must be wrong. It must be wrong! Can you find out?! To which he immediately hung up and I can just imagine how quickly he got out of his workplace and sped to Caulfield, where my Adam lived.

The stuff of nightmares. My brave Ary, who acted as the man of the house from the age of 3 when his father left us, had to identify the body of his brother with whom he was so very close, they shared a true brotherly bond, and he would be missing Adam to the depths of his soul. He has no idea to this day in how high a regard I hold him, how proud I am to be his mother, my first born child. He is 31 and there never walked on the face of the earth a better human being.

When Adam’s death had been confirmed every fibre of my being both body and soul, felt to be in severe disarray. Without relief, I felt a terribly sick knot in the pit of my stomach, I remember feeling as though I were drowning, flailing, gasping and choking, as if I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. It was a most torturous feeling, one that caused me to literally scream out with the most primitive sound of pain or torture, almost every evening at certain times, and there flowed forthwith a torrent of tears, dripping like salt water into wounds all over my body.

I believe I survived those first few months with the love of my precious family, good friends both old and new and people of the community, with big hearts, people who didn’t understand us but who encircled us with protection and pure love. I was uneasy and found it frightening to be alone but sometimes such were the circumstances. These times were fearful and monstrous, my own mortality seeming to pound on my door and whisper to me eerily, ‘make yourself ready for another world’. Feelings of terror appeared that they were here to stay. I would beg loudly for my son to come to me, to please show his face, or just come and sit with me. It was sheer terror, it was out of this realm of reality and I now know, for me at least, that there is indeed, ‘another world’.

People cope with traumatic death in all manner of different ways and actually, I am not good at dealing with ‘bad’ or perhaps a better word is negative, or the more trying of emotions, at the best of times therefore, if you can imagine magnification of panic and anxiety.

With the assistance of good mental health professionals, social workers and my doctor, I made it through the first year, certainly not unscathed, but i made it through!

I am a survivor of traumatic loss, something I never thought I would have the strength to do. You can be a survivor too for this is all we do, survive.

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